RE: New Poll Question

Subject: RE: New Poll Question
From: "Donald H. White" <trlbldr -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "'Lisa C. Boyd'" <lisab -at- lisaboyd -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2005 11:18:29 -0500

I've been lurking, reading y'alls answers to this question's about
time I weighed (!) in...

I know Jack; he was a one of the kids I ran around with, playing clay lot
softball and football and biking all over DeKalb County, GA.

Yes, Jack was from red-clay country: freckled face and arms, straw in his
unkempt hair under a rumpled Braves ball cap, barbecue sauce evident on his
dirty (and formerly white) t-shirt, Coke bottle in his left hand, fielder's
glove in his right.

Smurfs hit the air long after I learned that Saturday mornings (ANY morning)
was for sleep, although I did, occasionally, see the show. And, who could
have missed the ubiquitous presence of Smurfette, whose visage appeared

I did not take typing in High School; I was depraved. I learned of my need
to type when I arrived at the Naval Communications Training Center at Corry
Station in 1972, which was to teach me to be a telecommunications operator.
There, I was confronted by a Navy-gray, all-metal, Western Electric-produced
Type 32 teletypewriter that sported three rows of keys, including buttons
for Letters and Numbers and that spat out five-level 1/2" wide tape with the
Baud code for each letter/number typed punched in it (chad and chad-less).
When I first sat before this behemoth, I graded out at 3 wpm with 80%
accuracy (pretty fast, considering I used only two fingers and the keys were
painted over). The very severe and serious warning that my failure to
achieve a minimum 35 wpm/98% accuracy rate in a short amount of time would
earn me a ticket to painting the side of a minesweeper at Norfolk Naval
Station was motivation enough. When I graduated, I was "poking" at
68wpm/100% accuracy and reading Baud tape at 72 characters per minute.

Fear works.

Later, I moved into the world of intelligence data collection, analysis, and
reporting. As a linguist, I sat at my first shipboard radio position, in
front of an Underwood 500 manual typewriter (we called it a "mill") and
learned that the touch-typing technique learnt for teletyping would not work
here. Instead, I began to use two hammers; one in each hand. Eye-hammer-key
coordination was critical to this activity.

A couple of years later, the Navy introduced us to the world of High
Technology: IBM Selectrix II or III machines replaced our beloved Underwood
500s. Gone were the hammers; keys flew under my fingertips and I became very
cocky about my typing speed and skill.

Until I met a woman at Fort Meade who typed 120wpm, 100% accuracy while
smoking, drinking a cup of coffee, and conversing while not removing her
eyes from the page copy she was entering into an Agency database.

I still gaze with affection at the rare IBM Selectric (Selectrix) I see so
rarely; I sometimes still see a bottle of Liquid Paper on the shelf of some
store. I'm not, however, ready to give up my keyboard, FrameMaker or Word,
and return to those Days of Glory.

Jack taught me not to be stupid about such things.

Merry Christmas! Happy Chanukah! Etc.

Donald H. White
Sr. Technical Writer/Editor
James River Technical Communications LLC
dwhite -at- jrtcllc -dot- com


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Re: New Poll Question / Introduction: From: Lisa C. Boyd

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